Review by horror_spooky

"The world needs Frank West"

I've been on quite the Capcom kick as of late, but that shouldn't be a big surprise. Capcom is one of my top three favorite game developers of all time, right up there with Nintendo and Rockstar. The reason for that is simple: Capcom always provides a constant stream of quality games. Sure, they do have their road bumps here and there, but so does every developer. Capcom is extremely important to this industry, and has provided such iconic characters such as Mega Man, created one of the most successful fighting game franchises of all time with Street Fighter, put survival-horror on the map with Resident Evil, created the idea of “extreme action” with Devil May Cry, and revolutionized third-person gameplay with Resident Evil 4. Hell, they were even one of the first developers to embrace the seventh generation technology, putting out Dead Rising to massive critical acclaim and overall success. Dead Rising was a great, though flawed game, which made me very excited for Dead Rising 2. However, Dead Rising 2 was disappointing in many regards, and I was ready to chalk the series up as being irrelevant. That was until I downloaded Dead Rising 2: Case West, and my love for the young franchise was resurrected in full force.

Dead Rising 2: Case West isn't a DLC offering. Instead it's a completely new Xbox Live Arcade-exclusive game set in the Dead Rising universe. The game takes place after the events of Dead Rising 2, with Chuck Greene trying to clear his name after the events of that game, and so he teams up with Frank West, America's favorite photojournalist, who is trying to find evidence that the evil Phenotrans pharmaceutical company caused the outbreak in Fortune City.

The fan service here is really astounding. Frank West is arguably one of the most popular characters created this gen, with his corny catchphrases becoming a meme and echoed throughout the gaming community. “Faaaaantastic!” “I've covered wars, y'know.” are examples of this, among others. Simply put, Frank West is a badass and he is awesome. It's unfortunate that people playing the single-player game can't control Frank, and the lack of offline co-op hurts this game a lot yet again, but the rest of the game is just so awesome that it's hard to hate on it too much.

Case West attempts to combine elements from the first two games in the series to create an overall better experience, and they succeed. Players can once again take photos of anything and everything and keep their photos through every play-through. The mechanic of combining weapons makes a triumphant return, and there are awesome new weapons to mix and match as well. New enemies also make an appearance, and they are quite intimidating and add a certain survival-horror flavor to the overall package. Case West is easily the most well-rounded game in the Dead Rising series, and since it's not set in a mall yet again, it feels fresh and unique. It takes the characters from the franchise and the gameplay concepts and inserts it all into a new setting, and the results are nothing but massive success.

The game looks great, runs smoother than butter, and is glitch-free. The amount of zombies on screen at one time is staggering, and because of how great this game looks, how well it plays, and everything, it bugs me that other games on the Xbox Live Arcade service don't strive to reach this same level of excellence. Dead Rising 2: Case West is the epitome of awesome for the 360's downloadable game service, and it's one of the best games available for purchase there, period.

The little nods to the first game throughout the adventure will keep fans playing until the credits roll. The plot twists, startling revelations, and all the powerful story elements combine to ensure that we will definitely see more Dead Rising in the future. The achievements are fun to go after and aren't repetitive or annoying like those in Dead Rising 2, and it's quite entertaining to keep replaying through this adventure multiple times. It's hard not to discover something new every single time you play, and since the game starts you out at level 40, there are plenty of awesome melee attacks available to keep combat interesting even when you're not equipped with a weapon. For 800 MSP, Dead Rising 2: Case West is one of the most obvious choices available on the game marketplace.

The game will last at least a few hours during the first play-through, and after that, players will want to keep coming back for more. The charm here is undeniable, the epic corny one-liners are excellent, and the interactions between Chuck and Frank are monumental for fans of the franchise. Dead Rising 2: Case West puts the series back on track and makes sure it's still very relevant in today's gaming world. It's true, the world needs Frank West.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/25/11

Game Release: Dead Rising 2: Case West (US, 12/27/10)

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